New Canvas Feature Option: Draft State

Draft State is a new Canvas Feature Option instructors can enable in a course site. When you turn on Draft State, items in Assignments, Quizzes, Modules, Pages, and Discussions are unpublished by default, meaning that students cannot see these items until they are published. Additionally, graded items like assignments and quizzes are not included in gradebook calculations.

The Canvas interface changes for course sites that have Draft State enabled. These changes include the following:

  • Pages has an Index page and displays page titles.
  • Individual pages do not include sidebars.
  • Instructors can select any page to be the front page of their course.
  • Quizzes do not have to be republished if the content is changed.

Caution: Please note that you should not turn off Draft State in a course site once you have enabled it. Here’s what happens if you do:

  • All content in the course site will be published.
  • There can be unexpected consequences, such as content being deleted or hidden from students, instructors, and other users.

Draft State will become a standard feature in Canvas on July 12, 2014. If you’d like to enable Canvas as a Feature Option in one of your courses before July 5th, please follow the instructions in this link:

How do I manage new features for my course?  

When you go to “Feature Options” in you site, you will want to click On for the “Draft State” option.

Please see the following links for information on how to work with Draft State in different areas of your site:

How do I use Draft State in Pages?
How do I use Draft State in Quizzes?
How do I use Draft State in Assignments?
How do I use Draft State in Discussions?

Currently, it’s not possible to unpublish files in published Draft State modules. When you mouse over the cloud icon for a file in a published module, you’ll see the following:


Please note that while the information about other module items in this link is accurate:

How do I use Draft State in Modules?

It doesn’t mention that you can’t unpublish files in published modules.

Sam Harris from Maryville University has come up with a workaround for this issue that you can learn about in this blog post:

Canvas: Draft State Doesn’t Work With Documents

We would like to thank Jay Treat of SAS Computing for sharing this workaround blog post with Courseware Support.

If you have any questions about Draft State, you can send them to Courseware Support at

Last Updated: 21 May 2014

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